TWO years after Fulani herdsmen invaded a multi-million Naira farmland in Lagun village destroying poultry valued at N100million and maimed six attendants, the herdsmen again on Sunday invaded the palm trees farm of the settlement and set 150 acres ablaze in a night raid operation which left workers on the farm scampering for safety.
In an emotion-laden voice, the farm owner who doubles as a former Secretary to Oyo State Government, Mr. Dele Adigun told journalists Tuesday evening after inspection of the gross damage inflicted on the farm that “farmers may be forced to begin to take laws into their hands if this stupidity and unguarded arson continue unabated”.
He noted that about 1,500 palm trees were destroyed with value yet to be ascertained as at yesterday morning when he visited the place with a team of security agents.
Said Adigun: “they set my farm ablaze and destroyed about 1,500 palm trees. You recall that six of my attendants were maimed and property destroyed two years ago, precisely March 2016. We reported to the police and nothing has been done till date. In the 2016 attack, we lost about N100million. And we are yet to quantify this latest attack and that’s what we are contending with now. We have reported to the police and till now they are yet to make any arrest. I am disturbed; I am concerned because we are talking about diversification of economy but with these hoodlums now, there is a problem as many people would not like to go and farm again.
“It is as if the law enforcement agencies are helpless to tackle this menace. What are DSS, police and other security agencies doing that they cannot make an arrest? They go to farm at night and set it ablaze so that when it rains, their cattle can be fed with the new grass. How can you destroy someone’s property to feed your animals for your business to thrive? If care is not taken, farmers may be forced to take the law into their hands. I hope we won’t get into such a situation. I am seriously disturbed,” a retired Permanent Secretary piqued.
Meanwhile, Oyo State Police Command yesterday called for peaceful coexistence between the Fulani herdsmen and the farmers, stressing that there is no vacancy for bloodshed in the state.
The Police Command who read the riot act to all who are planning to cause disharmony in the state appealed to such troublemaker to either leave the state or be prepared to face unpleasant consequences.
Addressing a security interactive forum organised by the state Police Command, the state Commissioner of police , Mr. Abiodun Odude said ” we have to organise this meeting so that we can address some issues that are affecting our farmers and the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria and we have to take this proactive step in this state so that the existing peaceful atmosphere will not be hindered .”
Odude said “Oyo state is a very peaceful state and we must make sure we do a lot of things in making sure we are having a peaceful society and that is the reason why we are here today.
“We must make sure that we are doing series of meetings with both the farmers and the Fulani herdsmen in the state so that we can address a lot of things that could have caused serious crisis within them, once we are meeting with them some serious issues that can affect both parties will be discussed and settled amicably and in a peaceful manner without shedding blood.”
In the same vein, the University of Ibadan Branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on Nigerians to stand up for their rights and hold the present government accountable for promises not kept.
He noted that ASUU, unlike Nigerian politician who will say one thing and do another, ASUU as a union of intellectual would always fight for the right of the downtrodden.
Omole noted that current administration seems to be taking Nigerians for a ride and prioritizing the lives of cows more than the enshrined right to live of Nigerians in the constitution saying that Nigerians must be ready to hold government accountable for their lapses.